FC Schalke 04 gave their fans an early Christmas present by beating TSG 1899 Hoffenheim 1-0 in the Matchday 17 opener.
Goals: 1-0 Choupo-Moting (28')
Keen to put on a show for the home crowd in their final game of the year at the VELTINS Arena, Schalke seized the initiative from the start and went close to opening the scoring with drives from Leon Goretzka and Max Meyer. Eventually their pressure took its toll, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting prodding in at the back post from Johannes Geis’ searching cross from the right.
Hoffenheim were more adventurous after the break but Schalke still looked the more threatening side as the movement of Choupo-Moting and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar regularly forced the visiting defence onto the back foot. Kevin Volland’s introduction in the 59th minute gave the guests a greater cutting edge up front but they were unable to find a way through Schalke’s backline, meaning the 1899ers will spend the winter break in the relegation zone.
Man of the match
It was not the cleanest of finishes but once again Choupo-Moting proved to be the decisive figure for Schalke, netting the only goal of the game in the Royal Blues’ fifth home win of the campaign.
The victory rounded off a respectable first half of the season for Schalke, who go into the winter break with 27 points for the second year running.
- Choupo-Moting has now scored twice in his last four league games.
- Summer signing Geis got his first assist from open play for Schalke.
- Hoffenheim’s Tobias Strobl covered more ground than any other player (12.16 kilometres).
Schalke: Fährmann – Riether, Höwedes (c), Matip, Kolasinac – Meyer (Sane 61’), Geis, Goretzka, Choupo-Moting – Di Santo (Neustädter 90’), Huntelaar (Höjbjerg 72’)
Hoffenheim: Baumann – Kaderabek, Schär, Süle, Kim – Elyounoussi (Uth 80’), Rudy (c), Strobl, Schmid (Joelinton 90’) – Amiri (Volland 59’), Vargas